Please Don't Make John McCain's Death About Your Partisan Bullshit

Please Don't Make John McCain's Death About Your Partisan Bullshit

Senator McCain shouldn't be defined in death by partisan bullshit, despite dying in a period of America's history rife with partisan bullshit


I am a staunch liberal Democrat and I always have been. My political beliefs have made me the butt of jokes at holiday dinners, gotten me into politically charged arguments in college, and helped me focus my voice here on the Odyssey. But being secure in my Democratic beliefs does not mean I poo-poo and rule out Republicans and their politics altogether; I'm not ignorant.

When I was in fifth grade and I watched President Obama's inauguration on a projection screen in my elementary school's APR, I fell in love with both that man and politics. How could you have fallen in love with politics then? You were 11! First of all, this is about me and John McCain and not you so don't make this about you and how you don't understand glorifying for the sake of stylistic tone, thank you.

Maybe I didn't fall in love with politics in the sense that I began campaigning for more breadsticks in the cafeteria or longer recesses in the fall and spring when it was nice out, but I was a curious and obnoxious kid and after watching Obama's inauguration (and how happy it seemed to have made my mom and my teachers), I began to ask more questions about what it all meant (by all, I mean the presidency and how our government works and etc.).

I grew up in a house with a Democratic mother and a Republican father, both of whom were secure enough in their political beliefs to not enforce theirs on one another. I heard both sides of every debate, saw the merits and detriments of each argument, and ultimately made the decision of which side I would take for myself (basically, I was one of those assholes in high school who claim to be socially liberal but fiscally conservative).

In the most roundabout way, I could say this, I've kept my finger on the pulse of politics growing up and I've learned how to listen to the other side, even if it radically went against what I believed. Through it all, I've agreed with some people on some things, disagreed with the same people on others, cursed some politicians to hell, and stopped just short of building a shrine to others. Through it all, despite remaining a staunch liberal Democrat now into my twenties, I've maintained the highest level of respect for Senator John McCain.

Why? Because he was a good person.

It seems, almost glaringly so since the 2016 Election, that it is often times hard to remain a good person in politics. And yet, Senator McCain did just that. More than just remaining a good man, he remained true to his own system of beliefs, not blindly stumbling along with his party's voice. Although he was a conservative Republican, he often made attempts to reach across the aisle and promoted a more bipartisan government, even in planning his own funeral.

Millennials, Gen Zs: he wasn't just called a maverick one time and SNL kept it going for fun. He was labeled a maverick because consistently, he voted how he voted, like your wildcard friend who always has a dissenting say in where you go out to eat. He was his own person, but he was so in a way that brought people together rather than promoting the riffs that already existed between them.

The iconic thumbs down to the Obamacare repeal in 2017.

Why am I trying to sell home the point that Senator McCain shouldn't be defined in death by partisan bullshit, despite dying in a period of America's history rife with partisan bullshit? Because the day after his death, I saw an old friend posted an image of themselves holding up their middle finger with the caption, "RIP John McCain!" and I didn't say anything then, and it has been eating at me ever since.

Last October, my grandfather died after an arduous fight with cancer. My grandfather, who voted Republican in every single election of his life except for 2016; my grandfather, who served his country not during wartime like McCain did but through his life's work in law enforcement and the New York judicial system; my grandfather, whose vibrant and full life was too snuffed out by something as cruel and apathetic and devastating as cancer; my grandfather, who John McCain often reminded me of.

Cancer is blind. It doesn't care who it takes hold of, the life its host body has lived or things it still has left to do. Cancer doesn't give a shit about your political beliefs or your party lines. It just takes everything in its path. You might not have sided with anything Senator McCain did or said, which is fine (if that's the case, however, I implore you to open your mind a little bit more and see what you can learn from others). You might have just stopped short of making Senator McCain a shrine, which is a little creepy but still all good. You might not have cared less about politics recently, and I guess that's okay, too; you do you.

But do not, as some people are trying to, try to make John McCain's death about anything political or partisan. If he had been your friend, father, or grandfather, you wouldn't want anyone else to.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?


This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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